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I Missed Today's Brown-Bag Luncheon ... Sorry if You Did Too

At least I heard from the mayor after the luncheon concluded.

Sometimes, like so many other blondes, I have forgetful and/or negligent moments. Today was one of those days.

Apologies to those (likely only a few, or at least that’s what I’m going to tell myself) who read my tweet telling you the would be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday. In fact, it started at noon. Apparently I wasn’t the only one, though, because City Councilman Larry Kramer (there are white-hair jokes out there, too, right?) also thought it began at 1 p.m., as did another man who had, unfortunately, read my tweet.

I showed up at 1 p.m. and caught the tail end of the luncheon, which, as was later explained to me, was an overview of upcoming transportation projects in town.

Coincidentally, Capistrano Dispatch editor Jonathan Volzke has brown hair and recognized the correct meeting time. To read his coverage of the luncheon, click here.

I feel I owe it to you to share the little I did catch, which was Mayor Sam Allevato's reactions to the turnout, and his recent attempts to open the line of communication between City Hall and residents.

There were about 50 people in the council chambers Wednesday, about half of them city staffers and representatives and directors from various agencies, such as the Orange County Transportation Authority, Orange County Council of Governments and Rancho Mission Viejo.

Allevato called the latter group "heavy hitters"—people who are extensively familiar with projects well, such as the and expansion of Ortega Highway. He would have liked to see more unfamiliar faces at these meetings to glean specific information about what's going in town.

"Most people are happy in town; they love living here," he said, explaining that most residents are in tune with the fact that some , and there's going to be a or that , but "they don't know the details."

Although he took the lead in hosting Wednesday's luncheon, he wants to see the other City Council members host some of their own to discuss issues that they themselves care about.

It was Allevato who said at a City Council meeting earlier this year , but he has been accused lately of attempting to strong arm the other council members with his efforts to communicate. He was criticized when letters written on the "office of the mayor" letterhead promoting thewere included in water bills (Reeve has openly expressed his disapproval of the redevelopment agency).

Allevato countered accusations that he went against city policies that guide council members in corresponding using official letterhead, saying he never signed the letter or even wrote it. The letter was mailed at the direction of the city manager, was written by city staffers and was "only facts" and "not opinion," he said.

But "in retrospect," he said, "I need to get them all involved more," he said of the rest of the council.

Jim Reardon March 31, 2011 at 05:53 AM
Jenna -- I'm not blonde (anymore). But I did miss today's "luncheon." I heard it was, "bring your own lunch." Some luncheon. On the other hand, Mayor Allevato seemed to state the truth: "Most people are happy in town; they love living here," he said, explaining that most residents are in tune with the fact that some auto dealerships are coming to town, and there's going to be a new hotel or that Costco is expanding, but "they don't know the details." Isn't that just the point? The details? Every household in San Juan Capistrano has "invested" $500 (plus interest on 20 years of future debt) in the car dealerships alone -- so far. The Mayor would have you believe that this is good for town, but it really only benefits our municipal government. As for Costco and the the new hotel nearby, these project are underway because our city decided to step aside and let them happen (after granting substantial development fee waivers). Was this good? Perhaps so, but where is the corresponding cut in the development staff at City Hall to make up for those fee waivers (= almost $1 million so far)?
SJCfamily March 31, 2011 at 04:54 PM
I noticed right off the bat how many taxpayer-funded employees were at the meeting. There were at least 12. Knowing how much these employees make (Joe Tait alone is about $165/hr) it had to have cost us thousands of dollars. That wouldn't be so bad if it was a necessary meeting, but this meeting was more about promoting Allevato's personal agenda than anything else. If he really wanted to "communicate" with his constituents, he would not rudely cut them off or continue to shove his personal agenda down our collective throats. Especially that stupid toll road. He knows there is a huge swell of sentiment against it in SJC, having attended the Coastal Commission hearings in San Diego where a great number of SJC residents spoke in opposition to it. To continue to use our money to promote his personal agenda is just wrong. I'm not even sure it's legal for him to unilaterally spend taxpayer monies to hold a meeting that was never approved by the council (as far as I know). The problem with Sam (besides the fact that he spends other people's money like there's no tomorrow) is that he is tone-deaf, which many believe is a result of his sheer arrogance. IMO, he's schilling for a regional position for himself. He's a government trougher if there ever was one.
JessC March 31, 2011 at 05:53 PM
SJC Family, Our Mayor says that he wants to listen to what his constituents have to say, but as soon as they disagree with him, he rudely cut them off. This is not the first for him. This is the norm.

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